The Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has acquired Ai Weiwei’s “Trace” (2014), a 1,200-foot installation portraying activists, “prisoners of conscience,” and advocates of free speech from around the world. The installation is made up of 176 pixelated portraits and over 1.2 million LEGO® pieces, assembled and laid out on the floor. Each individual in the photos has been detained, exiled, or has sought political asylum. [via email announcement]
The Getty Research Institute has acquired the archive of artist Betye Saar. This acquisition will launch the beginnings of the Getty’s African American Art History Initiative, a program meant to establish the Institute as a “major center for the study of African American history,” according to the press release. “Betye Saar is one of the most innovative and visionary artists of our era. She has also, in many ways, been the conscience of the art world for over fifty years and we are so honored that she has trusted us to preserve her powerful legacy,” said Andrew Perchuk, acting director of the Getty Research Institute. The archive includes works from Saar’s entire career, with sketchbooks, prints, drawings, book illustrations, and documentation of her assemblages and installations, among other works. [via email announcement]
The UK’s Government Art Collection (GAC) has commissioned Turner Prize shortlisted artist Hurvin Anderson to create a unique, limited edition print to be shown in diplomatic buildings across the world. Anderson is the first GAC commission — part of a new 10-year initiative called TenTen, in which every year over the next decade, a British artist will be commissioned to produce a print. A small number of prints will be available for purchase. Anderson’s print is called “Still Life with Artificial Flowers” and “evokes a snapshot of the artist’s mother’s front room in Birmingham,” according to the press release. Fifteen prints will be framed and displayed in British embassies and offices worldwide. [via email announcement]
On Wednesday, Robert M. Morgenthau, 99, donated his great-grandfather Lazarus Morgenthau’s diary to the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History in New York. Lazarus Morgenthau was a prosperous clothing salesman, who in 1842 “recorded memories of his impoverished, nomadic childhood in territories that later became modern-day Germany,” according to the New York Times. Morgenthau was 27 at the time of recording, and he recalls begging for food and apprenticing with “cruel bosses.” He writes that the purpose of recording this history is to pass the story down to his family so that “neither pride or arrogance may gain a foothold in my family.”
Three paintings by Joseph Henry Sharp, a founding member of the Taos Artist Society, have been donated to the New Mexico Museum of Art. The paintings were donated by Lore Thorpe, the daughter-in-law of Kathryn V. Thorpe, the former owner of Santa Fe’s Bishop’s Lodge. Thorpe bought the paintings directly from Sharp and assisted the artist in selling his artwork to patrons at the Lodge before she died in 1979. The paintings have remained in the family ever since. The Museum currently holds 16 works by Sharp in its permanent collection. [via email announcement]
Sotheby’s Yellow Ball: The Frank and Lorna Dunphy Collection sale in London brought in a total of £10,088,125 (~$13,272,000) on September 20. The sale’s top lot, Lucio Fontana’s painting “Concetto Spaziale, Attesse” (1961), sold for £1,174,000 (~$1,545,000).
Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated sale in New York brought in a total of $30,890,250 on September 25. The sale’s top lot, Frank Stella’s “Scramble: Descending Green Values/Descending Spectrum” (1977), sold for $2,655,000.
Christie’s What Goes Around Comes Around 25th Anniversary Auction in New York brought in a total of $1,659,250 on September 18. The sale’s top lot, a rare, shiny natura vert céladon alligator Sellier Kelly 32 with golf hardware by Hermès (1995), sold for $47,500.
Christie’s Swiss Art Sale in Zurich brought in a total of 5,362,500 Swiss francs (~$5,558,000) on September 18. The sale’s top lot, Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture “Figurine de Londres I” (1965), sold for 1,812,500 Swiss francs (~$1,879,000).
Christie’s First Open sale in Shanghai brought in a total of ¥14,478,000 (~$2,109,000) on September 21. The sale’s top lot, Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)’s painting “Untitled” (1980) sold for ¥1,800,000 (~$262,000).
Christie’s 20th Century and Contemporary Art evening sale in Shanghai brought in a total of ¥108,336,000 (~$15,776,000) on September 21. The sale’s top lot, Zao Wou-Ki (Zhao Wuji)’s painting “13.02.92” (1992), sold for ¥45,600,000 (~$6,640,000).
Sotheby’s Paris cancelled their September 12 sale of the collection of the Count and Countess Viel Castel two and a half hours after the sale was supposed to have started after the entire collection was sold to an unnamed American collector. The 61-lot sale included furniture, paintings, drawings, and sculptures from the Viel Castel home, and the sale was expected to make between $465,000 and $675,000. According to the Art Newspaper, Sotheby’s has declined to comment or make an announcement. The website for the sale has since been taken down.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.